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Are You Easy Prey for False Prophets?

artic_wolfThe Bible is clear: false prophets are wolves that devour unsuspecting sheep.

Jesus said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

And the apostle Paul had this to say about false teachers.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30).

Despite these clear warnings from an apostle and even Jesus himself, many people are still naive to the threat. So, my question for you is, “Are you easy prey for false prophets?”

The answer is yes if any of the following statements–drawn from Scripture–describe you.

  • You think God won’t allow you to be deceived. I’ve often heard it said, by people in the New Apostolic Reformation movement, that we should not worry about false prophets because God will not allow His people to be deceived. But if you believe you can’t be deceived, then you are ignoring numerous warnings in Scripture about the need to guard against false prophets and false teachers (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter 2:1).
  • You are overly impressed by the miraculous. Many people are so dazzled by miracles they automatically assume the miracle-worker must have been sent from God. If this describes you, then you are in danger of falling victim to false prophets who, according to Scripture, will perform “great signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24; Revelation 13:11-15).
  • You don’t know sound principles of biblical interpretation. You may read the Bible and think you know it well. But you have not done the hard work of learning how to read it correctly using the historical-grammatical approach. This means that you rip verses out of context or spiritualize them when they are meant to be taken at face value. Anyone who reads the Bible in these ways is susceptible to being lead astray by false prophets (2 Peter 3:15-17).
  • You think you are extra-special to God and deserve to have your desires fulfilled. False prophets will tell people whatever they want to hear–including promising them the fulfillment of  their desires for worldly pleasures, such as money and sex (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:18; Jude 1:4). You are a sitting duck for false prophets if you are driven by pride and a pursuit of pleasure rather than truth.
  • You put too much trust in people. You think if someone is a church leader and likeable, then he or she must be a godly person. But you are not heeding the warnings in Scripture about false prophets and false teachers who disguise themselves as true believers (Matthew 7:15; Jude 1:12-13).
  • You do not value doctrine. You think doctrine is dry and knowledge of doctrine is not essential to having a vibrant faith. You may even believe that doctrine kills faith. If so, you might be among those people who mockingly refer to churches that emphasize doctrine as “dead” and to seminaries that teach doctrine as “cemeteries.” But the apostle John is clear that doctrine should be used as a litmus test for evaluating prophets (1 John 4:1-3).

Can you think of other statements that should be added to my list?

— By Holly Pivec

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39 Responses to “Are You Easy Prey for False Prophets?”

  1. Tim smith Says:

    When preachers misuse the phrase”touch not anoint my annointed. ” to put fear or unnecessary importance on their calling And to avoid true biblical confrontation.

    watch for any preacher who endorses or befriends false teachers like Hagin, Copeland and the word of faith cult.

    beware of teachers who endorse the world council of churches and ecumenism. 

    Does not II John state those who give Godspeed to those who promote false doctrine are a partaker of their evil deeds.

  2. Riles Says:

    I can identify with these.  After our ex-pastor and her husband(satire) returned from Lakeland there was all sorts of weird junk, including everybody trying to top one another seeing angels.  When one of the other elders challenged one of the regular teachers there with how do you know they are not angels of light, the God would not allow his people to be deceived line was used,  My fellow elder was stunned and said that those warnings are all over the Bible.  The false teacher said that he would have to be shown.  This church started following Bethel, and have now been absorbed by a C3 church.  Signs and wonders exchanged for prosperity gospel.

  3. Brian Says:

    I was an Elder in a “Bible Church” in Texas until about 8 months ago (Jan., 2013).
    A young man was asked to teach a class on prayer.  This young man had been to a Bible college and had been at IHOP with Mike Bickle for some time.
    He very kindly offerred to answer any questions we may have had about his teachings.
    I had many questions because he was clearly not teaching from a Biblical perspective.  Interestingly, the senior pastor and the other Elders were also in attendance.
    To make a long story shorter, I was told in a meeting with the other Elders and the senior pastor that THEY did not hear anything out of line with Scripture, that I had hurt this young man’s feelings, that I was not to attend any more of his classes because I intimidated him and that they were removing me from church leadership.
    The senior pastor actually said, “He would never speak un-Biblically.  You don’t know him like I do.  I know his heart”.

    Sad, but true.

    Blessings

  4. Gladys Brierley Says:

    Brian could you share what unbiblical points this young man was teaching specifically?  I am not disputing you but I am sorting through some of these teachers and movement through research and I am interested in the points of concern.  Thanks anyone else is also encouraged to point out various personal experiences if you want to.  Thanks again.

  5. Ann Says:

    Hi, Holly.

    Wikipedia’s definition of a prophet is:

    “In religion, a prophet is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people.”

    Is this your definition?

    I grew up in a Pentecostal church and always thought that a prophet foretold future events.

    What is your definition?

    Ann

  6. Ann Says:

    Hi, Holly.

    I did  not mean my question to be disrespectful. Please forgive me if it seemed to be so.

    I am honestly seeking your opinion.

    I value you and your website.

    Ann

  7. Holly Says:

    Hello Ann.

    Your question did not seem disrespectful at all. I think it is a very good question because it is important, when evaluating different views, to make sure we are defining our terms so we know exactly what is being said.

    A prophet, in the Bible, is one who speaks for God. And in the Bible we can see examples of different types of prophecies–not just foretelling the future, but also words of guidance, teaching, correction, and consolation. So I don’t believe that prophets in the Bible only predicted future events. Rather, they spoke anything God wanted to say.

    Holly

  8. Michelle Says:

    How about:  You think “heart knowledge” trumps “head knowledge”  without realizing that if you don’t know who Jesus is based on what the Bible says, your “heart knowledge” of Him might be knowledge of and a relationship with someone/something else.

    How about: You have grown so close to Jesus through the experiences you have in prayer, meditation and worship that you talk with Him all day long and realize that you haven’t opened your Bible in months because you don’t need to.

    Also, I agree with your definition of prophets and of their role.  To prophecy is to speak forth God’s message, whatever it is.

  9. Holly Says:

    Brian,

    I don’t like it when people in the pews use lines like “He would never speak unbiblically.  You don’t know him like I do.  I know his heart.”

    But it’s much worse when these type of brain-stopping lines–used in an attempt to shut down critical thinking–come from the mouths of pastors.

    Holly

  10. Craig Doriot Says:

    I believe that describing the office/calling of prophet as “speaking for God” is a modern oversimplification of the calling, primarily because the other offices of apostle, evangelist, pastor and teacher ALL would fit that description.  All are led by the Holy Spirit in their respective callings and are led in how to speak for God, in that sense.  I would even say the majority of gifts are based on “hearing from God” in one sense or another.

    Prophecy and the office of prophet, throughout the bible, has always been tightly associated with accurately predicting future events, often in the forms of various warnings for the churches and for the nations.  I think this looser modern definition occurs because people dont see clear examples of this office and gift within their church bodies or even at large, and yet want to make their churches fit the biblical template.
    Until a few years ago, I was convinced that this gift was not even valid, because of the many false prophets, but have come 180 on this and now see that there are some true prophets in our midst, with humble ministries that correctly warn and equip the body of Christ.  It’s good to be guarded against the imitations, but even better to members of a body that also uses the genuine.

  11. Brian Says:

    Craig,

    What percentage does one of the prophets, in which you acknowledge as such, need to get ALL their prophecies correct in order for you to believe they are a true prophet?

    The Bible clearly states anything less than 100% would put that person in the category of false prophet.

    Please let us know your thoughts.

    Blessings

  12. Craig Doriot Says:

    Hey Brian,

    Fair discussion, but i dont think the issue is quite as “cut & dried” as you are saying, and as most make it out to be.  For example, we see instances in the old testament where someone described as a true prophet gives a false prophecy.  Off the top of my head, there is an example where a prophet had the correct prophecy for a king’s death, but was instructing to give a false prophecy. Another example is where a man of God rebuked a king, but God had told that man to return directly and not stop.  A prophet stopped him and implored him to say, saying that God prophesied for him to do so, but as they ate, the prophet received a word that the man would die for listening to his false prophecy (yet was given from a true prophet).

    The prophet that I’ve been in fellowship with the past 2 years has given at least several hundred specific prophecies by now (actually I’d guess over a thousand), the majority of which have come to pass in precise detail.  Sometimes she will say “God is saying..” or “God gave me this vision or dream” or something similar.  Hundreds of those have come true and I’m certain there is a flawless track record on those based both on my experiences and on the testimonies of many others.

    But other times we ask her to pray about a specific concern, knowing that often when she does that God will just start talking to her about it, or maybe just give her a little lead that is tougher for us to figure out.  And sometimes when she is praying about stuff like and God is not explicit, her flesh can get in the way and she might add her own thoughts.  In those cases, she doesnt say “God says this” but she will say “I think God is saying” or something like that.  I can think of an example where I asked her pray about something that she knew nothing about and she immediately was able to describe 90% of the situation, but when I followed up with the person about what she said was the root of the issue, that person denied it was going on and so I dont know if he was lying or if it was an issue of her flesh.
    What I do know is that I cannot deny the several prophecies God has given to her about my life- navigating trials and persecutions that I didnt know were coming, which God used to unlock and heal problems from my past, present, and future.  I recognize that God is not the author of confusion and we would expect perfection, but witnessing God’s hand at work in so many hundreds of areas being prophesied about almost daily, convicts me that there needs to be some grace for understanding that flesh gets in the way.

    I believe this is why, in the New Testament, we see prophets speaking and then other prophets judging.  I dont believe they are sitting in church with stones in hand, waiting for a mistake to kill the others off.  I believe they are trying to authenticate that this message is from God, their flesh, or even possibly demonic.
    I think some of these NAR prophets may have, at one time, been given a true gifting from the Lord, but they have been grossly corrupted and have not subjected themselves biblically to keep from going off the rails.  God has given us clear instruction to avoid anything to do with the prophetic ministries of Bob Jones, Dutch Sheets, and Rick Joyner.  Since most every American “prophet” is related to these ministries, we’ve basically isolated it so that we are only discussing with other, what God is giving to our church.
    I’m actually finishing the website for the prophetic ministry of one of our leaders, if you are curious and want to see some of the major ones (vast majority are not public beyond our church) unfold yourself:
    http://66.147.244.144/~shoutsof/

  13. Brian Says:

    Hi Craig,

    If there are prophesies being foretold today
    and they are coming to pass, would you say 
    we ought to open up the canon of Scripture
    so that God’s new things could be added for 
    all to see?
    I’m afraid there is nothing you have said or
    examples you have given that could not have
    been the result of demonic influence.
    How can you be so sure that your prophetess
    is not being falsely influenced by the demonic?

    Blessings

  14. Craig Doriot Says:

    Hi Brian,

    I was an “unsaved” Calvinist for 35 years.  I thought I was saved because of my conflicted mental assertion that Jesus was God.  When I eventually came to fully seek & accept the truth of God and the bible, God began to work repentance and sanctification and then filled me with the Holy Spirit, where he bestowed gifts on me.  The prophetess in question was very instrumental in leading me to the Lord, where God started to break down the lies that I had been taught, as the Holy Spirit began leading me directly through the truth of His Word.

    One of the first struggles I had was in believing that her gift of prophecy was legit for today, and so my first email to her was basically rebuking her, ugh.  I will assume by your response a popular (but false) logic/understanding that goes:
    1. Biblical canon is closed
    2. If someone is speaking for God, they would have the ability to write biblical canon
    3. Therefore, nobody can be speaking for God in that sense

    Actually the bible is explicit in saying that His sheep know His voice.  It is a twisting of scriptures to say that “knowing His voice” means “reading the bible”.  I believe that all who are filled with the Holy Spirit are in direct, 2-way communication with Him, though some in much more obvious ways than others.
    So my answer to the above concern is that 1) the bible never declares itself closed – that is based on a twisting of scriptures and 2) the ability to hear from God prophetically does not mean that it should be counted as scripture.  The notion of “sola scriptura” was useful in fighting against the heresies of the Catholic Church, but how it is being applied, at least today, is simply unbiblical.  It makes us “feel safe”, but there is actually far more safety in walking in step with the Lord and allowing Him to take the reigns of your life and of His church.  I cant imagine a plausible scenario where something new would be added to the bible, but its certainly not forbidden by the bible itself.  So, lets get into the verses that are hanging you up in defense of this notion (please provide them in response).  One of the first things God asked me to do was to be able to teach why cessation was a false teaching and not just experience it and accept what He was doing blindly.  So, fire away with those verses that you believe refute this.
    I would also disagree with your notion that demons could consistently give “true” prophecies.  This is the one gift that God does not allow even a respectable imitation of, and it’s held in esteem throughout the bible, including the New Testament (see 1 Cor 14). Fortune tellers and false prophets are pretty quickly & easily proven false.  It’s the one gift God uses when He wants people to “know its Him” and when true, its generally accompanied by a lot of correction for the church, and a clear path towards getting there.  What is it that makes you believe that demons can accurately prophesy?  Everything I have ever seen and read in scriptures only convinces me all the more that demons are only taking education guesses based on a heck of a lot more information they have access to in the spiritual realm- yet they long to know things even we are privy to.  But God uses prophecy to prove His hand in the matter and that there are no others like Him, DECLARING the end from the beginning:
    Is 46:9 Remember the former things of old,
    For I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like Me,
    10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
    And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
    Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    And I will do all My pleasure,’
    And how you do you resolve the prophecy of the two witnesses who come to PROPHESY right before Christ’s return in revelation?  Probably more twisted scriptures, I’m guessing.

  15. Craig Doriot Says:

    another verse to consider in Amos 3:
    If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
    If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

    7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
    Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

  16. Craig Doriot Says:

    one more, if I may (usually I focus on the NT, but this is leading to some OT gems):
    Ezekiel 33:33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.
    ..notice the verse doesnt say “if it comes to pass, its either God or a demon”

  17. Holly Says:

    Craig,

    The Bible warns about false prophets who make accurate predictions.

    “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

    Because of the possibility of a false prophet making a prediction that does come to pass, this passage teaches that one must also test prophets by their teachings.

    If a prophet makes a false prediction, then according to Deuteronomy 18:22 that person is a false prophet. But if a prophet makes a prediction that comes to pass, then that does not necessarily mean he is a true prophet. He must also pass the theological test.

    Holly

  18. Craig Doriot Says:

    Good find, but notice the prophet in question is giving a sign or wonder (miracles, like the magicians of Pharaoh), not making a prediction aside from claiming he can accomplish this sign. I think we see a lot of those kinds of manifestations in charismania, but the verse isnt talking about the actual prophecy.  Those in question here are using “signs & wonders” to validate their dreams & prophecies as being from God.

    I’m not saying a false prophet is unable to make accurate predictions.  People make accurate predictions all the time and they dont have access to even a tiny percentage of the information that demons have.  Demons can make extremely educated guesses and also make such vague prognostications that anything can match with enough imagination.
    But I am saying that God repeatedly uses the gift of consistently accurate prophecies to validate that, in fact, the message comes from Him.  You should be able to see the difference between an educated guess and something that only God would know.  And there is far more biblical support that shows prophecies coming true validate it being of God, than the stretch to make it realistic for demons to accomplish this, using the bible as our guideline.

  19. Michelle Says:

    I am uneasy about joining in on this.  There are many thing being said here that concern me.  First of all, Ephesians 4:11 does not describe “offices.”  It describes gifts given to people so that the people can be given to the church to build it up.  There is no suggestion of “office” or even of “official” authority.  Much is made over the “5-fold” offices, but this emphasis is not from Scripture.  For one thing, the 4th and 5th so-called “offices” are a grammatical combination in Greek, literally “And he gave some indeed apostles, and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors(or shepherds) and teachers.” 

    But why not speak of the 8-fold “offices” of 1 Corinthians 12:28?  Some might say that one refers to gifts and the other to offices, but how can this be justified?  In fact, since the verb used in the Corinthians passage is “tithemi” – to set, set forth, or establish, which has more of an “official” connotation that the verb “didomi” – to give, from Ephesians 4. 

    The answer is that the so-called “5-fold offices” have been declared restored by God for the church by so-called “prophets” and is a doctrine NOT based on Scripture.

    God gave us everything we need to know in Scripture.  Not only that, all of the important doctrines we need in order to follow Him are confirmed in multiple passages.  If a “prophecy” creates new doctrine (that is not in Scripture) it fails the very test for true doctrine that is used to understand Scripture.  HOW CAN THAT BE?!!!

    IF (and note that I emphasized “if”) the gift of prophecy is active today, it will NOT create new doctrine (doctrine that is not clearly found in Scripture, confirmed by multiple passages.)  Perhaps God may give specific prophecies useful for daily life but regarding non-doctrinal issues.  We know that the Holy Spirit gives us guidance in our day-to-day lives, and teaches us how to live out our salvation.  Perhaps God may sometimes give that guidance through prophecies by another person.  But it MUST be completely consistent with what the SAME Holy Spirit has taught through Scripture.  God’s truth was and is and will always be perfect.  It does not change with the times. 

    This “Rhema” vs. “Logos” idea that was introduced (again, by so-called “prophets”) is nonsense.  God’s word cannot contradict God’s word.  God’s word can’t be better or newer or more effective than God’s word. 
     

  20. Brian Says:

    Well said, Michelle.
    Thanks for weighing in.

    Blessings

  21. Tim smith Says:

    Yes, I am very impressed with Michelle’s insights, and I couldfree here more with her especially the areas  of old doctrine not new.

    i also agree with her on the logos vs thematic teaching!!  If it is “written” than that is the completion of truth and God speaks through the written to speak to us.

  22. Brian Says:

    I do not get the impression God is kidding around here.  
    Brian

    “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
    – Revelation 22:18-19

     

  23. Craig Doriot Says:

    I believe you guys are in error by adopting this admittedly popular rule that all understanding must come from the bible alone.  The actual purpose of sola scriptura was to establish that the bible contained all information that was NECESSARY FOR SALVATION.  This effectively confronted the jesuitical heresies created by the Roman Catholic Church, that were attempting to establish that hidden, priestly knowledge and church sacraments and the blessing of the pope and other things were NECESSARY FOR SALVATION.  While that notion is truth, it is unbiblical to claim that all spiritual understanding must be restricted to the bible.

    Beyond this, we have prophets working in the new testament, PROPHESYING, clearly.  These prophecies are not recorded and the prophecies of the two witnesses of revelation speak of future prophecies yet to be given.  Those accounts alone defeat the notion that Jesus ended prophets or the gift of prophecy, a gift that Paul also goes to great lengths to defend as not just legitimate, but absolutely critical for a healthy church life.  It should be no surprise that the gift of prophecy is under so much attack and bears so much scorn, because that is where God is moving the most visibly, and that office has been under attack since the very beginning.

    Michelle, you give a detailed explanation that is based on this faulty assumption, but I understand where you are coming from.. been there before. Brian gives us the single “go to” verse that attempts to establish this, and I agree that on the surface, it might seem like it could be an open and shut case against new revelation, but lets look at the verse a little more closely, with a more complete context.

    I think it is extremely debatable that Revelation was the last book written, but i’ll let you look that issue up, since its pretty irrelevant when you look at the passage in context.

    It may be interesting to note here that this book of Revelation has a chiastic (mirror) structure throughout, beginning with a prologue and ending with an epilogue, where we start to see more clues as to what the verse is saying.  For more on this (I cant recommend the site, but on quick glance this page looks fine):
    http://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception-Revelation_prophecy_chiasm_eschatological

    In Revelation 1:3, we get this curious verse of blessing:
    “BLESSED is he that readeth, and they that hear the WORDS OF THIS PROPHECY, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

    Some interesting things to note about this verse:
    – It’s given exactly 3 verses from the beginning of the book of Revelation
    – It offers a BLESSING for those who study it & take the words to heart

    John also reiterates this point as he brings the book back to the conclusion in Rev 22:7
    “Behold, I come quickly: BLESSED is he that keepeth the sayings of the PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK.”

    One clue in the passage is the phrase “this book”.  Is he referring to the bible in calling it the “prophecy of THIS BOOK”?  When John gave this revelation from his exile on Patmos, it was not published as some addition to the bible.  The canonization of “this book” happened several hundred years later, and this had been established as a standalone prophetic vision.  Furthermore to say that John was referring to anything other the prophecy he is giving here, would seem to contradict every other reference he makes to “this prophecy” or “vision” or “revelation” he makes throughout the book, not to mention just the plain understanding of these verses.

    And again, in Rev 22:10, I think it start to materialize in your mind what “this book”, He is talking about:
    “And he saith unto me, SEAL NOT the sayings of the PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK: for the time is at hand. ”
    Now, how would John have the power to seal up the entire writings of scripture, when his responsibility is only this book and a few other letters?

    So, let’s look at Rev 22:18-19 again:”For I testify unto every man that hears the WORDS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK , If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

    Interestingly, we get these mirrored verses exactly 3 verses from the end of the same book of Revelation.  Revelation begins with a curse for those who faithfully handle it, and it ends with a curse for those who mistreat it. 

    So, even assuming that Revelation was actually the last book written, it seems pretty clear just by looking at the verbiage alone that we are discussing the contents of the book of revelation.  What God is saying through John here is that you had been not modify this book, OR ELSE.. It was worded in this fashion to be extremely explicit about any kinds of modifications forbidden, adding or subtracting (as in, “hey, we didnt modify it, we only took out certain passages.. or hey, all the words are still there, but we just added a few more”)

    Still not convinced?  Let’s go back a bit further in the bible, all the way to the Pentateuch.
    Deut 4:2 You SHALL NOT ADD TO THE WORD which I command you, NOR TAKE FROM IT, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

    Deut 12:32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; YOU SHALL NOT ADD TO IT NOR TAKE AWAY FROM IT.

    If you were to apply the same popular understanding of Rev 22:18-19 to the rest of scripture, then our bibles should only consist of 5 books.  Obviously, God is demanding that nobody corrupt the scriptures, He is not declaring any sort of finality in revelation at any point, though He clearly does establish that all scripture is perfectly true, and therefore, any supposed “new revelation” must be perfectly cohesive with scripture as ONE of the MINIMUM requirements.

    Will get back to some of the other issues raised by Michelle.

  24. Holly Says:

    Craig,

    You are not accurately representing the doctrine of sola scriptura. This doctrine is not that Scripture pertains to all that is necessary only for salvation. The historic understanding of this doctrine is that Scripture alone is the final and only infallible authority for matters of faith and practice.

    Also, you argued that prophets and the gift of prophecy can be found in the New Testament. That is true. However, you switched from making a case for prophets and the gift of prophecy being present in the New Testament to claiming that the office of prophet can be found in the New Testament. That move is a leap that cannot be supported by Scripture. There is no evidence of an office of prophet in the New Testament. Instead, other than the office of apostle, the only two church offices clearly seen in the New Testament are elders and deacons.

    Holly

  25. Craig Doriot Says:

    should have just referred to the catholic heresies as papal, not jesuitical.. Im guessing that sola scriptura might have pre-dated the jesuit order

  26. Craig Doriot Says:

    also meant to say “Revelation begins with a blessing.. ends with a curse”.. sorry

  27. Michelle Says:

    Craig,  I didn’t say that no one could have a gift of prophecy.  (I said “if” someone did.)  The core statement I am making is that the Bible is sufficient.  “Prophecy” that introduces “new” doctrine is not from God.  We have already been given the whole Gospel. Jesus Christ is the completion.  There is not something more and better that we need to be looking for.  Jesus Christ is all in all. If you are his sheep, then YOU should know His voice.  Why do you feel that you need a mediator between you and Jesus?  You don’t.

  28. Joe Says:

    Looking at the above conversation, I thought I would offer a few comments on the issue of the Logos
    and Rhema issue.  To anyone who may dismiss the issue of the need for rhema I would offer several scriptures:
    First there is Romans 10:17 
    So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.     (NKJV)
    Quite often this is interpreted to mean that our faith is exclusively to come from reading the scriptures. There is every thing to gain by reading and memorizing the scriptures. However, according to Strong’s the word translated word from the original text is rhema. 

    Rhema is defined by Strong’s (4487) an utterance (individually, collectively or specially) …..saying, word…  
    1. an utterance

    Next at the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:3  (NKJV)
    But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  

    again word is rhema in the orginal text.

    In his book “The Fourth Dimension” Dr. Yonggi Cho speaks of rhema as the saying word of God. He suggests that is it not just enough for us to have the logos (such as alluded to in II Timothy 3:16-17)or general revelation of God but, also we need the rhema which is the specific directions and word of the Holy Spirit for us.

    Perhaps we could realize that to hear from the Holy Spirit directly is the most ideal. However, non of us would suggest that our pastor does not deliver the rhema or specific application of the word to the congregation that we are  a part of. If we are just receiving the logos then perhaps we need to be part of a church who’s pastor preaches with the authority of the Holy Spirit and by the Spirit’s help delivers the rhema to the congregation. 

    Finally, because there is a spiritual gift of prophet as exemplified in such passages as Acts 13:1 and
    Acts 21:10 who served important roles in the church, perhaps we might not be too dismissive of the possibility that there may be prophets in modern times as well. I suppose that the matter of discernment is important to make sure that the said prophet is not contradicting the scriptures and creating doctrine that are not found in the scriptures.  

    I would like to suggest here regard

  29. Tim Smith Says:

    I personally have come full circle being involved in the charismatic dimension back in the Keith Green days and 2nd Chapter of Acts Christian groups.

    I have been taught in a biblical college back in the day that the rhema was the spoken word of God of course not denying scripture.

    But the feeling left with that teaching was that the Logos was not empowered unless the rhema was present.

    I have for the past 16 years believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the WRITTEN word of God is complete and is the voice of God and is complete. I believe the preaching of the rhema as another form of God’s word is in error and leads to Gnostism, which is the choice to seek experiences and voices from God personally.

    The simple milk and example of God’s direction is the testament which means the Will of God as one would write a will upon death. 

    Rhema teaching in my experience is a path that leads to grave error.  Studying the word of God, not just reading is the admonition of the scriptures and the clear teaching of the scriptures where our direction and purpose in our walk with the Christ.

    Remember too, Hagin has a school called Rhema, and he, his co-horts such as Copeland are snakes in the grass and deceivers within the Christian circle.

    In closing Christ gave us the greatest example in the wilderness when dealing with Satan himself in person. Christ is the Logos and the living word as expressed in John the 1st chapter, and Christ said to Satan…. IT IS WRITTEN

    How much clearer is that

    Tim

  30. Holly Says:

    Tim,

    You make a strong argument.

    Holly

  31. Tim Smith Says:

    Hi Craig,

    You have written a lot so forgive me if I am not replying in context of your messages. On the surface, I agree John is talking specifically about Revelation, meaning the prophecy of this book he himself wrote, not the whole bible. And I don’t think the collection of all the writings of the new testament were compiled as he wrote, which is neither here nor there.

    As far as the whole bible is concerned, I believe from reading the scriptures in whole that it is clear the whole bible is completer and the books in the bible were selectively chosen by the God Himself, for there were many writings that were probably accurate, but were not inspired to as the writers in the bible.

    I think it is clear that the written word is the prophecy of the Lord. The prophets of today is more of a spirit of prophecy than anything else, however if one Christian has the gift of prophecy as one would have the gift of helps or gift of tongues, that the prophecy is to edify not to bring NEW doctrine or NEW teaching, but mostly to admonish, and give focus.

    Lastly, the so called prophecy conventions are highly suspect, prophecy clubs are highly suspect, which I wouldn’t touch with a million foot pole.

    Again, your messages are lengthy and it is hard to figure what you are arguing for or against, for I see in your writings you have the appearance of being on both sides of the spectrum. 

    Tim

  32. Joe Says:

    To Tim:   Regarding the word rhema. It is a biblical word. If you have a KJV bible and a Strong’s Concordance you can see for yourself. I was reporting on that meaning and the biblical implications of that meaning. I was not defending the  use of rhema by a particular ministry except via a reference to Dr. Cho. When I spoke of a pastor speaking rhema I was referring to the preaching of the scriptures with the aid of the Holy Spirit as opposed to speaking from one’s intellect alone. 

    Here is another place where rhema shows up: 
    But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:4  (NKJV)

    Here is another interesting place where rhema shows up:
    And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  
    Ephesians 6:17   (NKJV)

    In both of the above cases the word rhema is translated word. As you have stated regarding your bible school training that the rhema of God is spoken word of God and doesn’t deny scripture.
    rhema also appears to be spiritual food to aid our walk of faith. If we understand the inference in Ephesians 6:17 rhema can be used as our weapon against the evil one. 

    I don’t in any way shape or form claim to have an exhaustive  understanding of the meaning and use of the word rhema. 

    Regards,

  33. Tim Smith Says:

    Joe.

    Yes, I understand.  I believe we are on the same page. Maybe a better way of explaining my position is this way:

    Rhema indeed is a biblical word. That is not the issue. The issue is how we are to UNDERSTAND how rhema and the Logos is applied.

    If Logos is applied through the clear instruction of scripture how logos is to be applied then the rhema is interchangeable, not different.

    Logos is applied to study the scripture to be approved. This is a condition. It is the study of the scriptures which correctly divides TRUTH. Most people just read, and it has value, however, that is not the instruction. It is the STUDY of scripture as the bereans did.

    The problem area is this in my experience. The practice of the so called rhema gets taken out of context and application. The application for the most part is simply this:

    Hearing the voice of God without the sincere desire to know the word of God and study scripture. This is an area where now, the desire of hearing from God is seeking another way to communicate to God and is extrabiblical.

    It is nothing more than modern day gnostism and mysticism. You will see this in all practices of miracle healing, casting out devils, prophecies which is a real hellish issue and such.

    I hope I have made my point more clearly.  It is simply spiritual thrill seeking which would fall into the category of ‘STRANGE FIRE” as noted in the old testament which held grave consequences even death.

    God is immutable unchanging in His ways. HIs ways now are to hear his voice through the written word, not some warm fuzzy through nothing more than prayer circles which can be nothing more than séances to summon strange spirits guised as the Holy Spirit.

    For Paul said if anyone bring another gospel, another Christ, another “spirit” even an angel form heaven let him be cursed or damned.

    Another spirit is what I see being sought unbeknownst to the deceived Christians giving way to the falling away from the truth of God’s word.

    Tim

  34. Joe Says:

    Tim:  Interesting thought.  I would like to add another ism to your list and that is Deism. I would say that all three: gnosticism, mysticism and Deism are equally not so very profitable. 

    I think that embracing the scriptures knowing God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and wouldn’t betray the other is something that can reassure my faith. If the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s appointed vessel within the context of the scriptures perhaps it is something that God wants us to hear.

    However, I think there can be additional tests that can be done. One is through the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits. 
    Another is According to I John 4:1-3 We are to test the spirits.
    There is also James 3:13-18 that speaks of two kinds of wisdom that the messenger of the message can be measured by. 

    I kind of think that if we are able to accept the premise that the Holy Spirit delivering rhema would never contradict the Logos of the scriptures then the seems to be an effective starting point. 
     

  35. Tim smith Says:

    Hi Joe,

    i appreciate your insights And I can’t perceive or discern anythinin accurate in what I you have stated so articuately.

    i agree one can read the word and miss the toucof of God which is dead or deadly.  We are transformed by His word and His Spirit and they are One.

    The worst deceives to keep thigoth read in context remember are those whip say and use the word to promote their own agendas , Benny jinn, Copeland, mar etc 

    All these merchandisers and frauds of the gospel will agree in all the essential core doctrines however, they misapply and are exercising doctrines of devils to the unsuspecting and in discerning.

    I would believer God Himself had Denny these frauds to one test His true church, judge those who are not in His word, and of course give up those so called Christians who prefer the circus act over sound teaching.

    Gods Spirit will not always contend with men, but as in Romans He will give us up to our flavor and stubbornness to our own imaginations of who the Christ they will serve Even regentus having a bible opened Up and interpreting scripture to their own likings and vain imaginations totally void of Gods leading but being led truly by a counterfeit spirit posing as the Holy Spirit.

  36. Tim smith Says:

    Sorry, my texts are bring reworded.

    i
    will resend the first message when I get to my computer. These iPhones r very frustrating

  37. Joe Says:

    Here is a scripture I would like to share without any commentary:
    And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.          Matthew 28:18-20  (NKJV)

  38. C. H. Says:

    Tim, and to whomever this may relate:  

    I realize I am over a year late to jump into the discussion, however, I am seeking truth, through God’s infallible word, through the Holy Spirit, and through others who can rightly divide the word of truth ( 2 Timothy 2:15).  So Tim, I read in one of your posts that we are too hear His word through His written word…do you believe this is the only way God speaks anymore? I have heard it taught that when Canon closed, then God shut His mouth.  I can’t find this anywhere in Scripture.  I see where people quote 1 Corinthians 13: 8-9, and some use it to say the gifts are gone, some to say God doesn’t speak except through His word.  I am really trying to understand where this type of theology comes from.  I also see that you say that God doesn’t change…and He definitely does not.  Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change…” Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  So if He is immutable, how does He no longer speak.  And if we are to have a relationship and fellowship with Him, how can we do that if He just keeps His mouth closed today. Furthermore, how would one receive their calling to teach, preach, etc, unless they are called? By some tingling sensation that you preach against? I too believe that God should not be followed by trying to get some spiritual high or tingly feeling….However, when God called me, I was called…not by some tingling feeling, but He told me my calling…then confirmed it through Scripture. I have had visions/dreams that He has also confirmed through His written word. But I just don’t understand how someone can have a relationship with God if prayer/communication is only one way…me praying and Him speaking only through the Bible. 

    If He has shut off the gifts, and closed His mouth, how can Acts 2:18 be explained? And How can then Jesus say, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…John 10:27. the word voice comes from “phone” in greek….which means a sound. 

    Thanks for any clarification you may have..

  39. John Says:

    C.H., that’s a really good question that covers a lot of the divide between the “anyone can prophesy” and the “gifts have ceased” camps.

    The way I see it is that the canon of Scripture is universal upon Christians and tells us everything we need to know to be saved. But there’s a lot of stuff we might need to know that isn’t in the Bible.

    If I think God might be calling me to be a missionary to Thailand, there’s not a verse in the Bible that will tell me one way or the other whether that sense is truly from God or something else. Perhaps I saw a TV commercial about visiting Thailand and it got into my head, perhaps I yearn for a slower pace of life and someone once made some comment about beaches in the Orient, or perhaps it really is God calling me there.

    If I go to the Bible I can see Jesus saying “go into the world…” but that could mean Boston just as easily as Bangkok. But if God wanted to get the message across to me that he really did want me to be in Thailand he could send all sorts of messengers to let me know. Perhaps a visiting speaker might talk to me and say he had a sense God wanted me to visit Thailand and ask if I’d considered it. Maybe a speaker from Thailand would visit my church and talk to me about it. Over time those sorts of signs add up.

    Since those sorts of comments aren’t binding on all Christians they clearly don’t deserve their own pages in Scripture but could still very much be God speaking to me through others. The words that are extremely relevant to me but would be utterly irrelevant to other Christians clearly don’t belong in Scripture but that doesn’t mean they aren’t from God.

    Of course anyone presenting such a word to me should expect me to test that word, whoever they are. Anyone who came to me out of the blue and says “God tells me you’re to be a missionary to Thailand” and expects me to be on the next plane is going to be disappointed.

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